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  • Originally published 07/21/2013

    A Scorching History of Rape in America

    Extremities Unicorn Theater 6 East Street Stockbridge, MassachusettsThe first seventeen minutes of Bill Mastrosimone’s savage play Extremities keep theatergoers on the edge of their seats. A stranger invades the home of a young woman he knows is alone and attempts to rape her. He is kneeling over her on the living room rug, his thick legs pinning her to the floor, his hands ripping at her clothes. She utters ear splitting screams of terror, flails her exposed legs wildly in the air and begs for her life.Then, suddenly, she is able to reach for a can of bug repellent and sprays her assailant in the face, disabling him. She springs to her feet, gets behind him and, before he can recover, ties him up. She tosses him into her empty fireplace, ties the iron grill to the wall and holds him captive, determined to kill him in revenge for what he did to her.

  • Originally published 07/19/2013

    British historian confident attitudes to sexual crimes can change

    Despite rape and other sexual assaults having low conviction rates, a London-based historian is optimistic this situation can be changed and offending reduced.Prof Joanna Bourke, author of a book titled Rape, A History from 1860 to the Present (2007), said in Dunedin this week that rape and other sexual assaults were issues for men and society, not just for women.Her optimism came partly from her perspective as an historian: ''I can see that things have changed and ... they can change again.'...

  • Originally published 05/30/2013

    Washington Times slams Mary Louise Roberts for book on WWII GI rape

    A controversial new book about American soldiers fighting in France in WWII charges that many civilians viewed them as rapists and thieves, rather than liberators, The Daily Mail reports.History professor Mary Louise Roberts claims in her book, titled “What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France,” that when the first soldiers swarmed ashore in Normandy, it was “a veritable tsunami of male lust” that French civilians came to fear as much as the Nazis, The Mail reports.The book is set to release next month and is likely to stir significant outrage in the United States, where veterans are highly revered as heroes....

  • Originally published 05/21/2013

    Mary Louise Roberts on the dark side of the liberation of France

    The soldiers who landed in Normandy on D-Day were greeted as liberators, but by the time American G.I.’s were headed back home in late 1945, many French citizens viewed them in a very different light.In the port city of Le Havre, the mayor was bombarded with letters from angry residents complaining about drunkenness, jeep accidents, sexual assault — “a regime of terror,” as one put it, “imposed by bandits in uniform.”This isn’t the “greatest generation” as it has come to be depicted in popular histories. But in “What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American G.I. in World War II France,” the historian Mary Louise Roberts draws on French archives, American military records, wartime propaganda and other sources to advance a provocative argument: The liberation of France was “sold” to soldiers not as a battle for freedom but as an erotic adventure among oversexed Frenchwomen, stirring up a “tsunami of male lust” that a battered and mistrustful population often saw as a second assault on its sovereignty and dignity....

  • Originally published 03/19/2013

    The Story of a Rape in Wartime

    Originally posted on TomDispatch.com On August 31, 1969, a rape was committed in Vietnam. Maybe numerous rapes were committed there that day, but this was a rare one involving American GIs that actually made its way into the military justice system. And that wasn’t the only thing that set it apart.War is obscene. I mean that in every sense of the word. Some veterans will tell you that you can’t know war if you haven’t served in one, if you haven’t seen combat. These are often the same guys who won’t tell you the truths that they know about war and who never think to blame themselves in any way for our collective ignorance. 

  • Originally published 02/25/2013

    Ruth Rosen: Rape: The Universal Crime

    Ruth Rosen, a former columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times, is Professor Emerita of History at the University of California Davis and a Scholar in Residence at the University of California Berkeley. Her most recent book is The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America.The feminist writer Susan Griffin called rape "The All American Crime" in Ramparts Magazine in 1971. She was the first feminist to explain that men rape children, elderly and disabled women, not just girls dressed in mini-skirts. In other words, she challenged the belief that that rape was a sexual act, fueled by men's irrepressible sexual drive. Instead, she argued that rape was an assault against a woman, fueled by the desire to control and harm her, not a sexual act at all.

  • Originally published 01/24/2013

    Rebecca Solnit: A Rape a Minute, a Thousand Corpses a Year

    Originally posted on TomDispatch.comRebecca Solnit has written a version of this essay three times so far, once in the 1980s for the punk magazine Maximum Rock’n’Roll, once as the chapter on women and walking in her 2000 book Wanderlust: A History of Walking, and here. She would love the topic to become out of date and irrelevant and never to have write it again.

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